By now, I’m absolutely sure you’ve seen the video below. Filmed in southern California, it shows a Ford F-150 pickup, driven by an 83 year old man, going the wrong way on an interstate highway. Filming from across the safety of a guardrailed median, the occupants of the car seem amused by the whole thing, and one of them even laughs at 0:11 into the video. Meanwhile, you know this isn’t going to end well, and the truck finally impacts a concrete barrier at about 0:24 into the video. The truck was then hit by a Land Rover and finally by a semi; miraculously, no one was killed in the ensuing accidents. Just in case you haven’t seen it, the video and my rant are below.
Let me start by posing this question: at what point did capturing video for ten minutes of YouTube fame become more important than human life? At about 0:21 into the video, one of the occupants even says, “he’s going to smack the (bleep) car”, so it’s clear that they knew an accident, and likely a fatal one, was imminent. At least one of the occupants in the car had a cell phone (the one filming), but let’s be honest here: who DOESN’T have a cell phone in 2011? Despite this, not one person was on the phone with an emergency operator to report the guy and give a location. Let’s hope that someone else had the common sense (and a token amount of decency) to report the guy before he crashed.
It’s odd that people are becoming more and more obsessed with their own celebrity than with the potential well being of others. I’m not eligible for sainthood myself, but I still stop when I witness an accident and I still dial 911 to report drunk drivers. Had I been in the car, I’d have been on the phone to an emergency operator, reporting the exact location as the drama unfolded. I very likely would have stopped on the left shoulder after the crash, because it was pretty clear that first aid was needed. In countries like Germany, not stopping to render aid is penalized, but here it’s celebrated on the six o’clock news. I don’t know about you, but it certainly doesn’t sit well with me.